6 Books That Have Changed My Life
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My bookshelf could tell you a lot about my family and me. We have a little of everything up there and very little of it is well organized! I have an entire shelf dedicated to parenting books. Most of them have bookmarks about two chapters in, where I stopped reading. My oldest takes pride in being so unique these books were of no help to me. We have leadership/business books next to Bible dictionaries. We have classics next to Star Wars fiction. We have kids’ books from when my teenagers were little next to the Awkward Family Photos book and Cake Wrecks which still make me giggle. We have irreverent humor and books about the Green Bay Packers (my husband is a huge fan).
I was invited recently to join some other bloggers in recommending books for Christian women. I pulled out a bunch that were contenders. You can see that blog post here:
10 Must-Read Books for Christian Women
I didn’t want the books that didn’t make the cut to feel left out, so I wanted to share with you 7 books that have changed my life and have the potential to change yours too.
1. Hinds’ Feet in High Places by Hannah Hurnard, Allegorical Novel
A classic that was originally published in 1955, this book can be compared to its more famous counterpart, The Pilgrim’s Progress. The story is an allegory that tells the story of Much Afraid as she travels from salvation to spiritual maturity. She is accompanied by two companions given to her by the Chief Shepherd. They are Sorrow and Suffering. Much Afraid learns to look to these companions not with dread but as friends who are there to help her. I don’t want to give too much away, but in the end, they are all transformed and given new names. I get goose bumps just remembering the first time I read this book. Just like Much Afraid, I lived in fear and despised any sorrow and suffering I had to endure. This book helped me see how God might be using my struggles for my good. I could envision what my life could look like, in the hands of the Chief Shepherd. This book could transform your life too, no matter where you are on your spiritual journey.
2. The Hiding Place: The Triumphant True Story of Corrie Ten Boom by Corrie Ten Boom, Autobiography
This is the story of a Dutch family who hid Jews during the German occupation of World War II. After saving many lives, they were caught and imprisoned in the concentration camps themselves. Only Corrie survived and she tells the story in this amazing book. Even in that place of darkest evil, God was there shining light and showing his presence to them. Corrie has always said the book is really the story of Betsy, her sister. Betsy had an incredible heart for the hurting and could see the hurt that was happening not only to the prisoners, but to the guards as well. I often pull out quotes from Corrie. When she talks about the goodness and grace of God, her words have power because of all she went through. Don’t just read this one for yourself, read it aloud to your preteens and teens. It will give you new perspective on your own suffering.
3. The Ragamuffin Gospel: Embracing the Unconditional Love of God, by Brennan Manning, Inspirational Nonfiction
Certain authors in each generation are able to explain the gospel and grace in a way that reaches the hearts of people. For me, Brennan Manning is the author that has reached my heart. All his books focus on understanding how intimate God’s love for us is. Brennan’s history is checkered and he struggled with sin. Those who are the furthest down in the pit are the most grateful for their rescue. Brennan was very grateful and had a beautiful, intimate relationship with God. The foreword of the book says, “This book is not for the super spiritual. It is not for the muscular Christians who have made John Wayne and not Jesus their hero. It is not for the academicians who would imprison Jesus in the ivory tower of exegesis…The Ragamuffin Gospel is for the bedraggled, beat-up, and burnt out…(it) is a book I wrote for myself and anyone who has grown weary and discouraged along the Way.” To me, that is refreshing!
4. Who Calls Me Beautiful?: Finding Our True Image in the Mirror of God, by Regina Franklin, Christian Nonfiction
I was so impacted the first time I read this book that I immediately ordered ten copies so I could give them to friends. A woman’s battle with self-esteem and body issues can last a lifetime. Regina weaves her own struggle to understand what beauty truly is with Scripture and wisdom. This book exposed for me the battles I was fighting, when I didn’t even know I was in a battle. She redefines beauty for the reader and exposes Satan’s attacks. I recommend this especially for young women but as I was looking through it today, I found amazing wisdom for women as they age and head into menopause as well. Questions at the end of each chapter make it an ideal choice for a small group of women or for a discipleship relationship.
5. Out of This World by Janice Subers, Fiction
I consider Janice a friend. She has been instrumental in my family’s growth and healing over the years. She wrote this amazing book about heaven, carefully and accurately based on the biblical accounts. Four children from four continents all experience a tour of heaven after experiencing death on earth. Janice has fictionalized what we know and painted a vivid picture of what heaven will be like. This book gave me a great deal of healing from the pain of two miscarriages I experienced 20 years ago, but which are still painful on occasion. If you are grieving the death of a loved one, or are fearful of death, this is a must-read. I find myself longing for my true home, heaven, because of this book.
6. Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Richard A. Swenson, M.D., Christian Living Nonfiction
If you feel stressed, overloaded, tired and worried, this book is for you. Our modern lives are overloaded and it is not getting better. We must take steps to insure our lives are not taken over with good activity to the point that our relationships, mental health, physical health, and finances suffer. Practical solutions are included throughout to give the reader immediate solutions. He helped me step back from my life and really evaluate the world around me and my relationship to it. Reading this with a spouse or as a couple’s study would be a particularly helpful exercise.
What books have changed your life?